Hanger Clinic in Springfield works miracles
SPRINGFIELD — The Hanger Clinic located at 1985 Main St. near the city’s downtown center doesn’t look impressive from the outside. But inside, it works miracles.
Formerly known as Hanger Prosthetics & Orthotics, the 150-year-old company, based in Austin, Texas, went through a rebranding recently, changing its name to Hanger Clinic.
But its mission hasn’t changed. It aims to help people who have lost limbs, either congenitally or through accident or other trauma, a chance to use artificial limbs to reach their full potential.
The founder of the company, James Edward Hanger, was the first amputee of the Civil War, according to a book on the history of the company.
The company employs about 4,400 people in its 700 locations around the country.
According to Thomas A. Mesick, a certified prosthetist and practice manager at the Springfield clinic, 75 percent of the majority of patients he works with are adults who have lost limbs through diabetes. The clinic has five staff members.
Mesick, 43, has worked at Hanger for 18 years. After studying at the University of Massachusetts Amherst with a focus on exercise science he planned to be a physical therapist, but discovered the field of prosthetics and felt he had found his calling.
Before college, Mesick had worked in construction, so he was familiar with the concepts of building, using tools and engineering.
“It was like a perfect marriage of all the skills I learned,” he said.
Mesick studied for two years and had a year-long residency before he became a certified prosthetician.
In addition to working with clients in the clinic, he works with them in their homes and in medical settings to help them achieve full use of their artificial limbs. Through the Springfield clinic, he also offers a peer visitation program.
Hanger has a limb fabrication clinics in Hartford, Conn.